Seven years ago today, your future dads had just returned from the final vacation of their childless life. We were patiently waiting for a child to be placed in our pre-adoptive foster home, mistakenly believing we had months to wait. When you were born, we didn’t know that you had come into the world yet; we didn’t know that you had been transferred to the NICU while your little five-pound body valiantly fought the cocaine in your system, your muscles permanently tightening up, something that makes it impossible for you to do a cartwheel today. We didn’t know yet that shortly after you left her body your birthmom went in search of the only thing she thought could quiet the sickness that was her addiction, leaving you behind and beginning the process of you coming into our life. When you were alone in the hospital, fighting your way out of the NICU and bravely weaning yourself off the drugs without medical aid, we didn’t know that your first week of life was our last week alone.
At six days old, you didn’t know that our social worker called us to say you were waiting. You didn’t know how we struggled to decide if this was the right decision. You didn’t know that we took what little information we had about your birth and spoke with a pediatrician about the long-term effects on your health and well-being. When you were one week old, you didn’t know that we were just around the corner, meeting with a doctor who said you were “eating like a champ,” something that is one of your most endearing qualities now as a seven year old. You didn’t know that the nurses wanted so badly to bring us to you the minute we stepped off the elevator, but that we resisted because even before we met you we knew that one look at your face would bond the three of us forever. While you were just a few dozen feet away, we sat and quietly weighed our options with one another. The health risks, the legal risks, the emotional risks of calling ourselves your fathers without knowing whether you would be permanently a part of our family.
You didn’t know that with tears in our eyes we took each other’s hand, small smiles of assent on our faces as we walked down the hall to meet you.
You don’t remember the joy that immediately filled our hearts when we first set eyes on you, but now at seven years old you frequently ask about it, looking at the photographs we have of that day. You see the enormous grins on our faces as we held you for the first time, so small but already such a huge anchor in our lives. You look at those memories and then quickly jump up to measure your tremendous height against our bodies, smiling in proud disbelief at the way you’ve grown.
Seven years after you were born, we see glimpses of the young woman you will soon be, and you continue to bring us great happiness. With every day that goes by, we are thankful for the decision that we made in the quiet hospital room. As difficult as it is to celebrate the difficult circumstances that allowed you to come into our lives, we feel incredibly blessed to parent you. Seven years ago we made a commitment to give you the best possible life no matter how long you were with us, and now that we are a forever family as permanent and important as any biological counterpart, we will continue that promise as long as we are able. As you grow, you will certainly struggle with the way you came you into our lives, and we will always give you the support you need and the space you require. Thank you for being our daughter and for giving us this tremendously amazing opportunity to be your fathers.